Sasser, Charles W. Raider; the true story of the legendary soldier who performed more POW raids than any other American in history – Brief Article – Young Adult Review

Sasser, Charles W. Raider; the true story of the legendary soldier who performed more POW raids than any other American in history – Brief Article – Young Adult Review – Book Review

John E. Boyd

St. Martin’s. 319p. illus. c2002. 0-312-98249-6. $6.99.

This book will appeal to YAs who are considering the military as a career, students of war, and fans of true-life adventure. The writing flows smoothly (readability checks indicate a fairly constant eighth-grade level). Be warned: there are some historically questionable statements and at least one glaring error, in reference to where the Japanese landed in the Philippines on December 8, 1941. If readers overlook these glitches, they will find the adventures of Sergeant Major Galen Kittleson to be exciting reading. He holds the distinction of being on more raids to free POWs than any other soldier in US history.

The book is divided into two parts. In Part I Sasser begins with Galen Kittleson’s background as an Iowa farm boy. He follows “Kit” Kittleson’s military pathway that eventually led to membership into the famed Alamo Scouts. The author reports on his combat experiences, including participation in two POW rescue missions. The more well known of these raids is the 1945 liberation of 500 starving survivors of the Bataan Death March. They had been held in the Cabanatuan POW camp in the Philippine Islands since 1942. The author provides background information on the need for the mission and its impact on the Philippine people.

Part II picks up 20 years later. Now Kittleson is referred to as “Pappy.” Again, he went on rescue missions to free POWs, the most notable being the raid on Son Tey. Although no prisoners were freed, the raid raised the morale of American POWs and forced the North Vietnamese to move all their prisoners at the “Hanoi Hilton.”

Photographs personalize the story but there are no maps or diagrams. Although the editing might be a little shaky, the story is a good one. Prof. John E. Boyd, Jenkintown, PA

COPYRIGHT 2003 Kliatt

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group